TO Gothic-style castle in Connecticut built by a wealthy heir so that his daughters could experience a fairytale childhood has seen its asking price raised by $25m.
Chris Mark spent seven years building the fortress, which is set on 75 acres near the town of Woodstock and features a 38m (126 ft) tower, turrets, two stone bridges which span the moat, 12 fireplaces and an underground auditorium and cinema.
His eldest daughter, 17-year-old social media influencer Christina, runs the popular Chris Mark Castle TikTok account, where she posts amusing clips about her “life as a princess”, complete with Cinderella dress-ups, references to goblins, fairy godmothers and friends in superhero outfits performing stunts, all set to rap songs and Disney classics.
Christina takes her 343,000 followers on tours of the castle, which boasts a Jacuzzi with its own rock waterfall, while performing dance routines.
The castle was initially listed with an asking price of $45m in 2014 before being taken off the market in 2016 after the asking price dropped to $32m.
It was relisted in November for $35m, and the asking price has since been raised to $60m.
Real estate agent John Pizzi told The Independent the price had been raised after the castle’s replacement was assessed at $60m.
“It is a genuine, one-of-a-kind fairytale castle built with truly remarkable craftsmanship and attention to detail,” Mr Pizzi told The Independent.
“From the pictures, you would think it is from medieval times. To find out it is only 20 years old is remarkable.”
Mr Pizzi said Chris Mark, the great-grandson of Chicago steel tycoon Clayton Mark, was inspired to embark on the ambitious project after his daughters asked him: “Daddy, why don’t you build us a castle?”
“It certainly raises the bar for us other fathers. If my daughter wanted a castle it would be made out of cardboard,” Mr Pizzi told The Independent.
During a two-year trip around Europe, Chris Mark bought original doors, woodwork and mantle pieces from crumbling French chateaux, churches and cathedrals, and then shipped back to the US.
Mr Mark also imported a 25 distinct hardwoods to use for flooring and fittings.
He hired a Connecticut boatbuilder to hand carve the doors, and had the wrought-iron gates, staircases and windowframes specially made at a nearby foundry.
He also flew-in more than 100 artisans from Europe to help with the “astonishing” craftsmanship.
“I think the most amazing thing is the way it all happened, is he started doing sketches and went to an architect, had a design done, and then he was hands on during the whole process. He was present everyday and oversaw the whole process.”
Christina and her sister Vivien served as models for some of the sculptures around the house.
The castle has been used as a location for music videos, weddings and classic car conventions. There was some interest from a French production company who wanted to film a game of Thrones-style drama, but that fell through, Mr Pizzi said.
Mr Pizzi said he had seen a few of the Christina’s TikTok videos, but he wasn’t big on social media.
“I’m 75 years old and I’m not into TikTok and Instagram and all those things.”
It seems that not everyone from the family is supportive of the sale. On one recent TikTok, Christina, who did not respond to an interview request, wrote: “Hope it doesn’t sell! I love it here.”
The property features modern conveniences including central air, an elevator, radiant flooring, a pool, a dock and a garage — as well as gothic luxuries, such as the fireplaces, turrets, an entry hall, a 30-acre pond, stained glass and 25 types of hardwood floors.
There’s also a raised stage auditorium, a guest apartment, a recording studio and 400 acres including that moat, according to the listing.